Continental Tires, keeping the rubber side down

Written by Dan Bandurka, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer

What a year! 2013 was only my second year on a mountain bike after a decade long hiatus, and did it feel great! I wanted to make the most of it, so I made a point of scheduling rides on trails I hadn’t visited before, of working to improve my fitness, and of making a few key component upgrades to my bike while staying within a limited budget.

One of the component upgrades I made this year was by necessity – tires. Like so many aspects of bikes today, tires have improved dramatically by incorporating a range of technologies that weren’t readily available a decade or two ago. For example, the ability to run your tires without tubes and rubber compounds designed specifically for the terrain you ride. Having now put about 1000kms on these tires, I thought it would be helpful sharing my experience.

Most of my riding is done on cross-country trails in Southern Ontario, which for those unfamiliar readers, is generally composed of hard-packed soils, exposed tree roots and small rocks. Accordingly, I purchased a set of Continental Race Kings 29 x 2.2 Protection. These tires feature a puncture protection layer in the casing both to prevent pinch flats if you run tubes and to make the tire tubeless ready. They also feature Continental’s BlackChili Compound rubber, which improves grip while reducing rolling resistance. The tread pattern is a directional, tightly arranged set of triangular shaped blocks with a low and round profile. For most Ontario trails, this tire appeared to offer everything I needed.

Yet, I also knew that I would occasionally encounter mud and wet weather, loose rocky conditions, and simply more aggressive trails. Therefore, I decided I would also purchase a secondary tire – the Continental X-Kings 29 x 2.2 Protection. Like the Race Kings, the X-Kings feature the Protection casing, the BlackChili Compound rubber, a directional tread and a round profile. The primary difference is that the X-Kings have medium spaced square block treads with a moderate height, which enables the X-Kings to succeed in a wide range of trail conditions.

Now, with the technical information out of the way, let me share my thoughts on these tires. The Race Kings are fast! I have been regularly impressed how much faster my bike will roll versus similar bikes with different tires. The moment I first noticed this was on a mid-season club ride when I was coasting on a double track trail with a slight downward elevation. Side-by-side with other riders, my bike would seemingly gain speed and hold momentum whereas others required rider effort. Yet, they’re also fast because they offer predictable traction. In the corners, I found I could lean as aggressively as I needed they would hold the line. And, if I pushed too hard and they started to slide, they would drift slowly and reconnect without any surprises. I found myself cornering with more confidence as a result. Climbing and descending, the Race Kings always seemed to find grip.

Yet, as great as the Race Kings are in my opinion, they aren’t perfect. In particular, their performance in mud can be a little like trying to ride on ice. Although this surprised me at first, it really shouldn’t have. Consider the tires on your vehicle and the performance improvement a winter tire can make in the winter compared to a summer or an all season tire. Analogously, the Race Kings are great in dry conditions, but are rarely the best tire when conditions are wet. Continental doesn’t hide this fact and, after I tried pushing these limits, I was glad I picked up the X-Kings as my secondary tire.

I had the chance to ride the X-Kings on a very wide range of conditions recently, and they excel where the Race Kings suffer. I participated in the cross-country race at the Bells Beer Copper Harbor Trails Festival this year, which unfortunately coincided with a substantial rain storm. The trail conditions were muddy, rocky, slippery, fast and generally dangerous. In this context, you’d expect most tires to struggle a little, but not the X-Kings. Muddy off-camber single track with exposed roots: the X-Kings didn’t miss a beat. Enduro descents with sharp rocks, large drop-offs and skinny wooden bridges: I had to push very hard before I came close to reaching the limits of the X-Kings. In fact, they saved me from more than one mistake. I also rode the X-Kings in moderately dry conditions and, although they didn’t roll as quickly as the Race Kings, were still very smooth and fast in the dry.

In summary, my upgrade to the Continental Race Kings and X-Kings was one of the best setup decisions I made this year. I’d recommend most Ontario riders maintain two sets of tires – in the same way I recommend two sets of tires for your car, summer and winter. If you prefer the simplicity of a single tire setup, the Race Kings will likely be the better tire in most trail conditions, while the X-Kings will be a good tire on your average ride and a great tire when you need it most.

See you on the trails!
Dan

LapDog Podiums @ Green MTN Stage Race

Written by Mark Van Doormaal, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer.

This was my first year doing GMSR and I don’t think it will be my last. The race is great, in a great location. I rode in the 4/5 Open field

Stage 1: TT, uphill start, downhill finish with the “dip” inside the last km. I was pretty happy with my pacing but probably could have gone harder on the uphill portion. Even with perfect pacing I think top 10 would have been as good as I could have possibly done. Dave lent me an aero helmet which must have helped on the downhill portion. The uphill part of the dip doesn’t look like much on paper but after 10 km made for a hard finish. 12th overall, 59 seconds out of first (a very fast TT field this year)

Stage 2: Circuit Race 80km, with one good sized hill. I flatted during the neutral rollout up the hill the first time. Luckily we had SRAM neutral support and I had a new front wheel in seconds and had no problem getting back into the group. I tested myself and checked out the GC field by keeping up with the KOM attacks and made sure a break didn’t go without me on the hill. On the last lap I bridged up to a solo break and we worked well together for about 5 km before the group finally caught up. I had put in some big efforts during the break but had enough time to recover for the finale. I followed some wheels and ended up 7th on the stage after the bunch sprint. Still 12th in GC.

Stage 3: The Queen Stage, 110 km road race finishing with the Baby Gap, App Gap mountain top finish. Fairly easy ride keeping near the front but out of the wind, saving myself for the finale. Unfortunately I flatted at the base of Baby Gap. Luckily I had CO2 with me and the leak was slow. I was able to get some more pressure in my tire and start the climb, but 2 minutes back of the leaders. I was able to pass a bunch of racers on the ride to the finish but didn’t get any help from them. I ended up 22nd overall and 22nd in the GC, 7 minutes down. Very disappointed but the climb was epic even if I was trailing off the back!

Stage 4: 1 km, 6 turn crit in downtown Burlington. It was wet and the course was quite technical. I knew that the first 5+ laps would be killer with the leaders trying to get some splits in the field. Despite starting relatively close to the front a bunch of gaps opened up in front of me and I spent the first 5 laps doing lots of work to connect with the front of the race. I eventually did catch up and the pace went down a bit. It took me a long time to recover and by the time I did, two strong riders were off the front. During the last lap, with the break still away, another rider attacked and I saw a good opportunity to get the jump on the sprinters so I bridged up and sat on his wheel until the last corner when I began my very long uphill sprint. I was able to hold off the sprinters for 3rd! Only 12 riders finished on the lead lap with every one else being pulled and so losing time. As a result of this and a time bonus for 3rd I ended up 12th in the GC. Very happy with this performance. I raced very well tactically and got a great result despite not being a good crit racer.

Stage racing is lots of fun and the Mad River Valley is lots of fun for racing as well as for supporters of racers. I will encourage Lapdog racers of all abilities to give GMSR a try next year. It has something for everyone and provides great focus for the end of the year given the front end loaded nature of the OCUP calendar this year.

From Spreadsheet to Trail… to Race Course!

Written by Larry Woo, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Racer, MTB Squad.

Firstly, let’s get the confessions out of the way… I, Larry Woo, am a cycling gearhead junky, always have been always will be. I love the mechanics of how a bicycle works and especially the sum of the parts that make it up. Along those lines, I find myself never staying satisfied too long bike before I start looking at removing parts that I felt should’ve been there in the first place.

So over the years I have put together many bikes, seen many trends, and experienced bad purchasing decisions that didn’t translate well when ridden. So my goal for my latest build was a mountain bike (singlespeed and/or geared) that would be showroom quality and perform brilliantly on the trail and race course. The voyage of completing my spreadsheet build was just as entertaining with great debates and suggestions from friends and staff at Duke’s Cycle.

With their help, here’s highlights of the build.

  • Frameset: Kona Raijin Titanium Frameset (made by Lynskey Performance)
  • Fork: Cannondale Carbon Lefty XLR (using Cannondale’s LeftyforAll kit)
  • Crankset: Cannondale Hollowgram SiSL
  • Chain: SRAM XX1
  • Wheels: Stan’s ZTR Race Gold 29er
  • Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeater 11’s
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR
  • Handlebar: Enve Carbon Sweep Bar
  • Stem: Enve Carbon Stem
  • Saddle: Fizik Tundra
  • Seatpost: Cannondale Carbon SAVE seatpost

The result…?

Woohoo! This bike build is fast, comfortable, and responsive. The sum of the, best of breed, parts did indeed deliver. The bike is light, rolls fast, and eats roots and rocks without sending soul destroying shockwaves to the rider. I look at it as the allstar team of mountain bike gear all on my new ride. I look forward to completing the race season on my new steed, turning heads, and having indepth discussions in the parking lot about the build with the other gearheads.

Editor’s Note: In the debut race of the new “KonaLinksyDale,” Larry ended up with an impressive third place finish at the Sudbury Canada Cup, Ontario Cup #4. Proof positive that this is one fast ride.

Photo Credit: Stuart Murray (stumurray.com)

Are you Century Ready…?

As cyclists, we all like to set some big goals and aspirations. One of those targets that many folks aim for is the “Century Ride.”

Whether it is a big Club Ride, a metric century (100k), full imperial century (160k), or even an epic Gran Fondo…, preparing for your “BIG Ride” can be a bit of a daunting venture. But have no fear… we’re going to help you make this happen.

With assistance from Sugoi Performance Apparel and Hammer Nutrition, Duke’s Cycle will be presenting an informative evening, covering the following topics:

  • Clothing, Gear, Base Layers, oh my!
  • Food, Fuel and Nutrition
  • Bike Fit & Injury Prevention
  • Bike Preparation (and what to take on the ride)

Please note that this evening is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about pushing their limits for distance. Even if you’re not planning that big ride this season, but just want to learn a bit about the various topics we’re presenting, please feel free to drop by. We believe that you will find the evening informative and entertaining.

And yes… we’ll have a few special deals and treats for all those who attend.

RSVP: Please drop a note to our info@dukescycle.ca address and put “Century Ride” in the title. This will be most helpful for us to gauge anticipated attendance and numbers.

Or… Please check out our Facebook Event Page to indicate your desire to attend. We’ll also use this page for updates, changes and modifications regarding the event.

Duke’s Cycle & Umbra!

Being part of our local community has always been very important to us at Duke’s Cycle. We believe that by working together, creating partnerships and sharing resources, we all benefit.

With this thought in mind, we are pleased to announce a new co-venture with our friends at the Umbra Store.

Drop by Duke’s Cycle an pick up a special discount card for your next purchase at the Umbra Store.

And if you’re stuck on ideas about what to get… what about a cool way to frame up your old favourite race jersey…

Ride with Duke’s Cycle

It’s time to start the Duke’s Cycle Shop Rides Program for the summer ride season. In addition to our regular Sunday morning MTB Ride and the Wednesday evening Road Ride, this year we have added a new mid-week mountain bike option, hosted and guided by members of our Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs MTB Race Team Squad.

Starting on Wednesday, June 12th, we’ll be offering a series Duke’s Cycle Shop Rides with options for both Road and Off-Road participation.

All rides will be NO-DROP, fun and casual.

 

Sunday Morning MTB Rides, 8:00am

Every 1st and 3rd Sunday of the month – weather and trail conditions permitting. These rides will be starting at the Bayview / Pottery Road entrance to the Don Valley MTB Trails. Pace will be fun and social, with a chance to work on fitness and off-road riding techniques. Ride Leader: Lisa Stockus

 

Sunday Evening MTB Rides, 6:00pm

Every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month – weather and trail conditions permitting. These rides will be starting at the Bayview / Pottery Road entrance to the Don Valley MTB Trails. Pace will be fun and social, with a chance to work on fitness and off-road riding techniques. Ride Leader: Cam Manson

Our Roster of MTB Ride Leaders include:

  • Lisa Stockus
  • Cam Manson
  • Michael Cranwell
  • Members of the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs MTB Squad
  • Special Guests & Local Reps

 

Wednesday Evening MTB Ride, 6:00pm. 

1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. These rides will be starting at the Bayview / Pottery Road entrance to the Don Valley MTB Trails. Pace will be fun and social, with a chance to work on fitness and off-road riding techniques.

Our Roster of MTB Ride Leaders include:

  • Lisa Stockus
  • Michael Cranwell
  • Mark Brusso, MTB Race Team Director
  • Members of the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs MTB Squad
  • Special Guests

 

Wednesday Evening Road Rides, 6:00pm.

2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. Starting on Wednesday June 12th, these rides will start at Duke’s Cycle and will be planned around a 2 hour ride. It is our intention to make these rides a social opportunity as well a chance to work on fitness and group road riding technique.

Our Roster of Road Ride Leaders include:

  • Michael Cranwell
  • Lorne Anderson
  • Dave Chong, Road Team Director
  • Roderick Grant, Road Team Director
  • Members of the Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Road Squad
  • Special Guests

Be sure to checkout and “LIKE” our Duke’s Cycle Facebook page for all the latest Duke’s Cycle Shop Ride updates, details, times, locations, etc.

Should you have any questions… or wish to join our Ride EMail List, please send a note to info@dukescycle.ca and use “Shop Rides” in the title.

BTW: Helmets are mandatory, no exceptions. And please ensure that your bike is in good working condition [yeah… we can help with that]

 

Cannondale F29 Carbon 3 – First Impressions

Written by Bevin Reith, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Race Team.

A 2013 Lefty equipped Cannondale F29 Carbon 3 joined my family of bikes this spring just in time for the riding and racing season to start. After a week on the bike and 4 fun trail rides here are my first impressions.

The greater stability and traction inherent in 29er wheels is the most significant change from the 26 inch platform I was riding last year. Combined with the small bump compliance and steering precision for which the Lefty fork has received accolades since its introduction, this is a platform which absolutely rails corners. Get over the front wheel in attack position and the bike goes exactly where you’re looking. Confidence inspiring and fun for fast flowing singletrack.

The switch from a full squish 26″ trailbike to a 29er hardtail had me worried about my ability to handle rougher terrain. I was shown some new trails in the Don Valley network consisting of rough trail with lots of climbing, descending and tight switchbacks. The larger wheels allowed me to maintain momentum over the rough stuff and the tight wheelbase tracked the switchbacks just as effectively as the smaller wheeled bike. The rear wheel tracked terrain and found traction well enough that I didn’t miss the mountain goat climbing of the dwlink equipped bike and I appreciated the greater power transfer efficiency of the hardtail when the climbs opened up.

For the vast majority of Ontario terrain that I have sampled over the years Cannondale appears to have the perfect recipe. I’ll be taking the Mojo to BCBR in July but for the rest of my trail riding and racing this year I anticipate I’ll be having fun on the Flash.

Guru Bike Fit @ Duke’s Cycle

Now in operation at Duke’s Cycle…

 GURU Bike Fit Experience. The future of Bike Fit and Cycling Performance Evaluation.

The GURU Experience fit system enables cyclists of all ages and experience levels to find the perfect bike. Using industry-leading technology, the GURU Experience precisely tunes your riding position based on real-time feedback – and delivers a tailored bike recommendation to match your riding preferences. This innovative process makes it easy to find the best bike for your personal needs and maximizes your riding performance to deliver the best possible cycling experience.

The GURU Experience makes real-time adjustments to your riding position on command – allowing you feel these changes while pedaling. In addition, the system’s integrated power unit allows you to test your power output and pedaling efficiency.

GURU’s proprietary software captures individual riding positions – which can be compared to one another at the push of a button.

The GURU Experience optimizes your performance to deliver the perfect balance of comfort and efficiency – allowing you to ride longer and faster on your perfect bike.

GURU Fit Services include the following:

  • GURU Road Basic Fit – $150
  • GURU TT/TRI Performance Fit – $200
  • GURU Road Bike Performance Fit – $200

Duke’s Cycle is very excited and proud to be part of the GURU Fit Family.

Art of Cycling, Contact Exhibit at Duke’s Cycle

Once again, Duke’s Cycle is proud to by “Host Gallery” for another the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival taking place during the month of May.

For 2013 we will be exhibiting the work of Paul Hrmo.

Mississauga based photographer Paul Hrmo is a former competitive cyclist who has spent the last decade behind the lens, capturing cycling races mostly in the GTA.

His familiarity and passion for the sport helps to bring a unique perspective to his photographs.

Throughout the month of May, as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival, his images will be displayed in our store, with an exhibition opening set for Thursday May 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM.

 

Calabogus…?

Written By Dave Hamel, Duke’s Cycle Cannondale LapDogs Road Team.

Calabogie was the second “O” Cup in the Ontario road race season, and it was supposed to be my race. I came in 12th there last year (my best result to date) and I expected to do as well this year. Things got a little muddled up, partly because of a lack of attention on my part and partly because of poor race management. I will do my best to explain.

Calabogie is West outside of Ottawa, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. What they have is a private racetrack where you can learn to drive and it is busy every weekend during the summer. However, in the early spring it plays host to hundreds of cyclists. It is a great place to ride and if you are thinking of getting into racing it is a good first race. Unlike Ancaster, there is no yellow line rule in effect; so there is lots of room to move around. And because it is a race track the road is smooth, well maintained and wide. The course turns left and right and in a car would probably seem like hairpin corners but on a bike are very manageable. What makes Calabogie so good for me is there isn’t much in the way of hills. I’m not much of a climber so races like the Niagara Classic and even KW tax me severely for my love of sweets.

There were five LapDogs in the M3 category but poor race team director Roderick was on his own in M2. The five of us were Dave Chong, Colin, Mark, Wallace and I. The race started smooth enough no crashes or anything and my plan had been to just hang in the middle for most of the race. I hadn’t been on the bike for two weeks since I was away on vacation and I didn’t want to bonk or anything. The race proceeded with it’s usual ebb and flow, racers moving around jockeying for position which is really unnecessary the course is so open you can just wait until the end. In the M3 classification no one ever breaks away it just ends up being a massive sprint anyway.

The laps go by quickly, the course is only about 5.5km long so it is easy to lose track of what lap you’re on. About 8 laps in, I moved my way to the very front of the pelaton. Nose in the wind, feeling good I began to move into the big gears and start pushing a little. This only lasted for a kilometre or two because there in the middle of the road were two bodies, with one on the side! It seems the ladies race had a bad crash and the ambulance hadn’t been able to respond yet. One girl was on the side of the road crying and one was out cold. A volunteer was in the middle of the road waving at us to stop. Being the responsible racer that I am I raised my hand and slowed the pelaton down.

There isn’t much prize money in M3 racing, not a lot of glory either so there was no point in trying to race away. Plus I would be really upset if someone bombed past one of my teammates when they were injured. Now here is where the poor race management comes in. When a race is neutralized, no one is supposed to gain position, like in a neutral start no one tries to move up. I was the leader, no one was supposed to pass me. About a dozen racers came by saying “keep it easy, guys” while pedaling forward. As the guy in front, when a race is neutralized I set the pace, not them. If this was a pro-race all of them would have been called out for it, and booed should any of them get to the podium. Just think of Contador when he attacked after Schleck’s chain malfunctioned, he got booed when he put on the yellow jersey. The two incidents are not exactly comparable but there is an etiquette to cycling and as far as I am concerned, they broke that etiquette. When we came around for the 9th lap the ambulance was there so again the same slowing and jockeying.

On the 10th lap the pace really picked up, and this is where I got confused. With all the excitement I forgot what lap I was on and looking at the counter it read “2.” After we came around again it read “1″ and the pace slowed again for some reason. I took this to mean I had one more after this one, like there was one lap remaining. As a result I was hanging out near the back waiting for the last half lap to make my push again. You can imagine my disappointment when we crossed the line and everyone stopped. There is nothing worse than finishing feeling like you still had gas in the tank. At least at Ancaster I had done all I could but here I hadn’t even made my move! Thankfully Colin and Dave had good races with Colin finishing 8th and Dave finishing 19th. I ended up in 62nd, kicking myself for getting distracted. This was supposed to be my race and I blew it.

Roderick and the M2 racers had a similar situation only for them the accident was on the start of the straight-away to the finish, and the accident was on the second to last lap. When the riders came around for the last lap the ambulance was in the road, as they came into the last “S” turn before the straight away there was a commissionaire yelling that the ambulance was still there . That should have neutralized the race but when they got there the ambulance had just left and so some guys punched it and took advantage of the situation. That should have never been allowed to happen. The race should have been neutralized and then an additional “race” lap added. As it happened Roderick finished in a similar fashion with still some energy left.

Calabogie wasn’t a total loss though. I learn every time I race. I learn to handle the bike better, how to position myself better. I learn that I can hang out at the front and push the pace. The next race is Springbank, which will be my first criterium. I can’t wait to see what I learn there!